Last Wednesday I was at an all-day textbook adoption meeting listening to the publishers promote their wares. Interesting, tiring and enlightening all at once. There was one lady who talked very fast. I wouldn't have noticed it (maybe) if she hadn't been in a group of other speakers to compare to. But, sheesh, I found myself shutting down soon because I didn't have enough time to process her words before she moved on without a break. Then that got me to thinking about my teaching. I think I'm guilty of talking at that speed at times, and now I can see the effect it has on listeners. SLOW DOWN for processing purposes.
Another gentleman turned me off almost immediately. He was a professor and very engaging but seemed to be full of himself and at one point rudely shushed his co-speaker so that he could continue. Ick. Then I couldn't look at him for the rest of the time he was speaking. I listened to him, but I felt uncomfortable looking at him because of my distaste for his actions.
Other times at other talks I was so tired from sitting all day that I seemed to need to stare down at one inanimate object while listening to the speakers. That way I didn't have more stimuli than I could handle in the afternoon.
Of course, then this made me start thinking about my students and their eye contact with me in class. Sometimes I think they're not listening to me because they're staring off as I'm speaking, but then if I ask them about what I was just saying, they can repeat the information accurately.
The book(s) I loved were the ones with fascinating math history vignettes. There was love and duels and theft and all sorts of "non dry" tidbits for the kids (and me). I'll have to bring more of those into my lessons.